Classics Updated

Why should death have the last word on an artist?

Anyone with a rooting interest in culture has surely had the experience of having a crush on an artist, of tearing through all of a novelist's books or rapidly buying all of a musician's CDs--the aesthetic equivalent of downing a pint of Haagen-Dazs--only to find oneself still hungry, frustrated with the limits of a canon. In the case of an artist with famously lost, botched or unfinished works, this hunger can be particularly keen. I know, having recently been driven to buy a bootlegged CD of material recorded for Smile, the legendarily unfinished Beach Boys album that could have been the...

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